My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

lots of satisfaction and a quibble or two

A car alarm is buzzing up the evening – in case it was just too quiet around here for a bit. I do not understand why car alarms go on for 20 minutes. Do the designers of these things really think a car thief is going to stand around for 20 minutes waiting for the noise to stop? Don’t they think he’d take off in, say, the first two seconds, and so the next 19 minutes and 58 seconds are just designed to drive the neighbours mad? Hmmm?

We’ve had beautiful days, getting hotter – very hot tomorrow – and rain at night. There I was today in the garden, worrying about the health of the roses, fussing about whether this plant is in the right place, that one needs fertilizer … and I realized that the garden is just another kid.
Monday was staff assembly day at my house: my fantastic cleaning lady Marisha, who comes once a month and pulls me from the mire, arrived, and the two of us were slogging around the house when John, the invaluable handyman arrived, to do various manly chores, and then reliable Dan, the painter, arrived to finish the holes in the basement where the plumber, who did not appear, had put in the new pipes. All I needed was Bill, the homeless guy who cleans the downspouts, and sweet Scott, who helps sometimes in the garden, and I’d have felt like the Queen of England.
At the end of the day, the house was sublime. I left a note for my dear son: “The house is CLEAN.” This is not something a 27 year old young man who’s six foot eight notices. Things like kitchen counters are too far from his eyeballs. In memory of the old days, he woke me up when he arrived home Tuesday morning, after much celebrating, at 3.30 a.m. My God, it took me back – more than a decade of disturbed sleep, thanks to my children the party animals. But in the end – I was always glad to know they were home. As I was again last night.
The shrieking just stopped. It should be illegal, that kind of blasted noise.
I had to take Keith Richard’s “Life” back to the library today, again before I’d finished it. What a surprise – it’s a great book. He’s honest, vivid, funny, surprisingly generous and sensitive, and it’s a lesson in the music of the time, on and on about the blues, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters … and about the Stones being the anti-Beatles. Which they certainly were. Try to imagine Paul McCartney singing, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” Paul was getting lots of satisfaction, thank you very much. I didn’t get to the part I’ve heard so much about, where Keith apparently denigrates Mick’s private parts. That must be hard on a band.
In other news, I wrote a letter today to the GM of the Y about the bulletin board. I can’t help it – it’s important to me. There’s a nice preamble, and then …

I wonder if you understand what that bulletin board means to us. As a freelance writer, I go to the Women’s Health Club as an oasis of sanity and a place where I have made invaluable contacts through the years, including some that have led to work and others to lasting friendships. The women there are of great interest to me – what they do and who they are. We are a vibrant, fascinating, talented bunch and have a great deal to offer each other.

If you insist on mashing that energy down, squashing it and blanching it and squeezing the life out of it, I, for one, can tell you that the Women’s Health Club will have lost what makes it unique and valuable to me. Many of my friends have quit the Y to join trendier clubs, fancier clubs, ones, simply, closer to their homes. Before, I wouldn’t consider doing that for the world: I adore the Y and everything it stands for, and have often written about this in my blog and in newspaper and magazine articles. (If you’d like copies, please let me know.) But if the Y is starting to make petty rules that take away our connection to each other – to the community, ironically, that we are – then I too might just as well go somewhere else.

All this for a bulletin board? Yes. I am a firm believer in the messy democracy of bulletin boards. It’s an important way to communicate with strangers. With each other.

My parents worked for world peace and I, for free-ranging bulletin boards. It’s Tuesday night, the house is still clean and I’ve done my little bit for humanity. Satisfaction.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Coming soon

A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

Join the mailing list to stay up to date on this and other exciting news.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.